It’s now quite clear that Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil are good for your health. But what about during pregnancy?Should you take Omega 3 during pregnancy?
There are a number of questions in this. Firstly is it safe to take fish oil in pregnancy? Yes it is. There are no documented risks to taking fish oil pregnancy for a normal healthy mother.
And secondly, are there benefits to either the mother or the baby, or both, of taking Omega 3 during pregnancy?
Studies suggest a very wide range of health benefits to adults, both healthy and unhealthy, from taking fish oil supplements. So any pregnant mother should get the same benefits. But there’s more which I discuss below.
But what about the benefits of fish oil during pregnancy to the fetus and infant?
The most important of the Omega 3 fatty acids is DHA and around 95% of adults in the US are deficient in DHA. You get DHA from the oils found in fish and put into fish oil supplements.
The brain is made up of a high percentage of fat, and the most common fat in the brain is DHA. It is essential for good brain development. The fetal brain develops most during the third trimester of pregnancy, and during this time has a high demand for EFAs, or essential fatty acids. If there is a deficiency there are possible implications for brain development and later performance.
Studies have suggested that taking fish oil during pregnancy and thereby boosting the supply of DHA to the fetus can have the following benefits to the fetus:
Improved brain function. Increased ability to concentrate as a child. Improvements in hand/eye coordination. Improvement in the ability to concentrate. Better sleep patterns in infancy. A beneficial, or preventative effect for ADHD. Improvements in visual acuity.
And some studies even show that low levels of DHA in pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of cesarean.
That’s a pretty impressive list. Lets look at the benefits of taking fish oil capsules during pregnancy to the mother again.
Lower risk of postpartum depression. Lower risk of developing pre-eclampsia. Reduced risk of a cesarean birth. Reduced risk of breast cancer.
Are you convinced yet of the benefits of taking fish oil in pregnancy? Remember the statistic. 95% of US adults are deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. That isn’t any different in pregnancy unless you make it change yourself.
So should you eat fish for your Omega 3 fats? Well that’s fine, except that you’d better not eat too much because there are US government agencies like the FDA that tell us not to eat a lot of fish, especially during pregnancy, as it is contaminated with nasty toxins like mercury. So how do you get your DHA in pregnancy? You take fish oil supplements. The good ones aren’t contaminated. Not all are good.
Visit my website to find out more about fish oil in pregnancy, as well as how to compare the different fish oil supplements available.